Kvaerner Industrier ASA is selling injection press builder Negri Bossi SpA to financial buyers led by Italian investment group Private Equity Partners for 90 billion Italian lire ($51 million).
Negri Bossi is the last piece of Kvaerner's John Brown Plastics Machinery business. Chicago investment group Madison Capital Partners bought the other five machinery subsidiaries in December for $62 million.
Private Equity Partners of Milan, whose shareholders include major U.S. and European banking companies, plans to retain the machinery builder as an independent company, but does not rule out buying a similar plastics machinery supplier in the future, said PEP Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Fabio Sattin.
The PEP-led consortium will make a cash payment of $22.5 million and assume Negri Bossi bank debt and other financial liabilities worth $28.5 million, according to Oslo, Norway-based Kvaerner.
Kvaerner acquired the John Brown operations in 1996 when it bought its parent, London-based group Trafalgar House plc.
Sattin said PEP aims to give Negri Bossi the independence it has lacked after being acquired twice by large diverse groups in recent years. He said PEP plans to allow the firm to settle down and consolidate its position.
Sattin, in a telephone interview from Milan, said PEP has made 50 large investments in the past eight years, some much bigger than Negri Bossi. This is its first venture into the plastics machinery sector.
Negri Bossi, founded in 1947, is a Milan-based international supplier of toggle-type injection presses with a range of 40-1,400 tons of clamping force. Negri Bossi had a 17 percent share of the Italian injection machinery market, according to Charles Buckley, chief executive of John Brown Plastics Machinery Inc.
Negri Bossi recorded 1997 pretax profit of $1.02 million on sales of $750 million.
Kvaerner has been undertaking a major restructuring to cut its debt and focus attention on its engineering and construction businesses.
The other John Brown Plastics Machinery units included thermoforming machinery manufacturer Brown Machine of Beaverton, Mich.; Epco of Fremont, Ohio, a remanufacturer of plastics machinery; granulator supplier Cumberland Engineering of South Attleboro, Mass.; Beringer, which manufactures pelletizers and screen changers in Marblehead, Mass.; and Leesona, a maker of textile winders, at Burlington, N.C.